Police, firefighters leaving Memphis because of budget cuts

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The cuts are coming, and officers are leaving.

"I'm having to play chess here quite a bit. Moving pieces and personnel around trying to find the right fit."

Memphis Police Director Tony Armstrong says the city lost one of its best homicide detectives to another city because Memphis is cutting benefits. Armstrong called that one example of what he expects to start seeing.

"Lots of institutional knowledge, a lot of personal knowledge about the day to day operations of homicide."

You'll hear the same from the Fire Department. The pay cuts and budget cuts are affecting more than just morale, they're also impacting actual service on the streets, forcing brownouts and keeping trucks off the street.

Next year the fire department will need to fill 130 spots. No recruit class can compensate that in one year.

The police department hopes to fill at least 90 vacant spots.

Armstrong said, "We won't actually realize any gains from that, because of what we are projected to lose in the next year."

Armstrong says the cuts to their benefits do not help morale, but will not keep the officers from doing their job. He hopes council members change their minds.

"One thing we know is prayer works. And there is a process. Anything that has been done can be undone."


  • dada

    not just people in public sector leaving we in private sector getting out of this S— H— also do your research!

  • Dr. JohnS

    If crime was not bad enough, just imagine what it will be if they keep leaving? They can surely make cuts from their toy projects and give the police and fire departments. But oh no, the boys and girls on city council have to have their toys.

    • Don

      No cuts to the council or mayor.
      I really started wondering about Memphis leadership when the council voted to have lunch catered for themselves and paid for by the taxpayers. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
      just wait until the city tries to hire people to fill the jobs that are caused by the people on the payroll who are smart enough to leave. This is not only the police and fire personnel, You can wait a little longer to wait for help.
      The people who live in Memphis have dedicated people who work in all of the Departments, But the mayor has really pissed them off.
      The County don’t have enough people to cover Memphis and keep it safe.

  • John T. Dwyer

    “The philosophy of the City of Memphis is to provide the best possible, most cost effective services to the citizens within it’s confines. In order to provide these services, it calls for hiring the best people to provide it.
    In seeking these people, a plan has to be presented to them in order to entice and retain them. This plan has to be better than the private sector. It must provide for the security, safety, and at times, the comfort of these workers and their families, in order to retain them.”
    ….Edward Hull Crump

    • Crump was a Crook

      Crump was a crook along the line of Daly of Chicago. Look up cronyism in the dictionary and there is a picture of crump. That quote says it all about politicians. He wants a plan better than the private sector but he has to get his money from the private sector so that the public sector can live better than those who provide the funds. I think that is the EXACT reason we are in this current dilemma.

  • John Gorley

    This is what you get when you let democrats run a city unchecked for decades…………welcome to the next Detroit. I left in 2010 after 10 years on MPD and it was the smartest move I could have made………….

  • Mark

    I hear the Insurance is 500 a month and spouse no longer covered. Upon retirement the rate goes to almost 1700 a month and spouse not covered. How can an elderly retired person afford this or anyone else for that matter? I guess the “tough choices” Wharton and little speak of are should an elderly retired person decide to be homeless and hungry but still have healthcare, or stay in their home and be uninsured, at least until the hospitals and doctors sue them for unpaid medical bills and the civil couts TAKE their home.

  • michelle

    Now its time for the city government to collect taxes from all of the companies that are exempt from paying taxes

    • The Real Nonya

      Yea, great move, tax the businesses and watch them run for the hills too… Then they will no where to work. Then where will your tax dollars come from.

      Businesses and citizens expect something for their tax dollars, like emergency services, infrastructure and protection. The city of Memphis is not giving them any of that so why would they want to pay taxes. They should leave. Welcome to New Detroit!

  • John

    “You have reached 911, all operators, firefighters and police officers have quit. If you have a real emergency hang up and rethink your priorities.”

  • Council Clowns

    Austin PD is accepting Lateral Transfers: The Memphis PD couldn’t even begin to touch the benfits offered by the Austin PD, including a 23 year retirement at 3.2%/year–even before the heath benefits cuts.

    Police Officer 2 Year Anniversary Salary: $69,851, an officer with the same general description as the 1 Year Officer but also receives Field Training Officer pay ($2,100 per year) and Crisis Intervention Officer pay($2,100 per year) could earn $82,391 per year.
    Benefits and Pay Incentives
    •Field Training Officer $175 (monthly)
    •Crisis Intervention Officer $175(monthly)
    •Bi-Lingual Pay $175 (monthly)
    •Shift Differential Pay $300 (monthly)
    •Health Insurance
    •Long Term Disability Insurance
    •Vacation Leave 150 hours accrued yearly
    •Holidays (11)
    •Personal Holidays- 16 hours
    •Emergency Leave- 40 hours
    •Tuition Reimbursement
    •Court Overtime- Minimum 4 hours
    •On Call Compensation-8 hours per week
    •Call out from home Overtime- 3 hours minimum
    •Dental Plan/Eye Plan
    •Patrol Officers work 4 ten hour days with 3 days off
    •Life Insurance
    •Sick Leave 145.92 hours accrued yearly
    •23 year retirement plan (3.2 multiplier)
    •Clothing allowance for select units $500
    •Uniforms and associated equipment provided (including pistols)
    •Associates Degree or 60 or more college credits $100 (monthly)
    •Bachelors Degree $220 (monthly)
    •Masters Degree $300 (monthly)
    •Master Peace Officer Pay $150 (monthly)
    •15 Military Days per year
    •Sick time buyback at retirement up to 1400 hours
    •Longevity Pay- $100 per year up to 25 years (yearly)
    •Deferred Compensation Plan

    The Austin Police Retirement system pays a pension based on a minimum 23 years of service at any age for a full retirement. It is based on the following formula: Years of service (23) X multiplier (3.2%)= percentage of base salary (73.6%). Officers may stay additional years past 23 to accrue additional retirement funds with no limit. Military personnel are eligible to purchase an additional 2 years into the retirement system added on after 23 years of service with the Austin Police Department. Compared to most police departments in Texas and the United States our retirement system ranks as one of the best. Most police agencies offer a 20 year retirement at 50% of their pay.

    • Turn out the lights the party is over

      Wow that job description kind of looks like the job description for a Memphis Police officer from 25 years ago doesn’t it. Other than the inflation adjusted numbers, and everyone having to press 1 for English, I do believe that is a Memphis job description. All these great jobs everywhere so why is everyone commenting on the woes of Memphis when all you have to do is rent a U-Haul and your problems are solved. If you really want to get ahead of the curve head to Detroit and become part of the solution rather than Austin which is just another city heading down the path of bankruptcy with those unrealistic benefits.

    • Pandorum H.

      With all do respect for our honorable police officers, Austin PD may want to conduct a thorough background check on any transferees from Memphis. Memphis’ Police are responsible for many of the crimes committed in our city… shoplifting, rape, drug trafficking, DUI and murder.

  • Council Clowns

    All the officers with less than ten years who are not vested can say bye bye to their pensions and hello to a 501K program.

    Now go write the City some more tickets so it can paint more bike lanes and buy more stadiums!

  • birdie

    I hate to see this happen but when keep electing the same officials into office don’t blame anyone but yourself. This people have been robbing from their own people for years and you all are too stupid to see it.

  • new slave

    Goobye so happy cry babies everyone is having to cut back. Now end the Drop Plan sick day accumulation and the luxurious 6 weeks vacation

    • Mark

      If you truly mean what you said and IF you work I hope your boss cuts your pay fifty percent and your social security is taken away then we will see if you become a “cry baby”. If you don’t work I hope all of your welfare and food stamps are taken away and then we will see if you’re a “cry baby”. The new insurance rate for retirees is over 1655.00 a month plus their wives or husbands are kicked off the plan. That will consume their entire pension. In other words they worked their entire lives for nothing! Show some human decentcy and compassion.

    • Memphis is dead

      Do you even know how the drop plan works? That it doesn’t cost the tax payers a dime? Do you know what the average life expectancy is for a Police Officer and Firefighter? 55 years, that’s it! 55 years. You are not very informed and obviously have a attitude of if I don’t get it neither should they.

  • We are a Village

    I am tired of reading about the “RETIREES” having to pay $1700 or whatever amount people are throwing up here. At 65 you receive Medicare Part A, cost is ZERO. Part B is around $100.00, and Part D for your medicine is about $40 if you choose to get it. So get off your propaganda about these costs for the elderly. HOWEVER if you retired at 55 then therein lies part of the problem. No one should be receiving pension(s), lifetime healthcare and other perks at 55 years old. The numbers have not, will not, and will never compute. You cannot have a fireman getting paid, a 55 year old fireman retired getting paid, and a 75 year old retired fireman getting paid with all these benefits for doing the job of one fireman. Multiply that by the thousands of public servants and the costs are unsustainable. Now come on and lets get the village together and cheer for our dear leader Obama for our NEW shared responsibility healthcare costs. As Obama told Joe the plumber we have to spread the wealth so for all those getting free or very low cost healthcare then the working fools have to pay for it. As someone else said, just wait until Obama closes those coal plants and your utility bill hits $800 a month and healthcare will look like a bargain. Now lets all settle down for a few months because after the election in November we are going to have to get rid of those pensions also. You know back in the day people worked until they died. Along comes a democrat/socialists/communist who promised everyone all the cheese on the moon and the fools fell for it and elected those who took money from Peter to pay Paul. Peter said shove it and went to live with Paul. Well Paul is broke.

    • MissTee

      Here I was thinking your garbage was just plain stupid, then you typed “democrat/socialist/communist”, which is stupid with whipped cream and a cherry on top. Stupid deluxe. Congratulations! Not only do you not understand the definitions of words, you’re dumb enough to flaunt it!

      • Hello comrade

        Well Mistee you must be a blithering idiot. Why did we have an ornament of Chairman Mao on the White House Christmas tree? Why did Anita Dunn, an Obama aide, PUBLICLY state this nation needs to be governed with a Maoist philosophy? Why was Van Jones, an admitted communist who calls for the overthrow of America, founder of Storm, appointed by Obama as a green energy Czar? Who was Frank Marshall Davis, Obamas mentor, who worked for the Defender in Chicago, a communist newspaper? Who was Vernon Jarrett, Valerie Jarretts father-in-law, who worked with Frank Marshal Davis at that same newspaper? Why did Obama appoint David Axelrod, whose Mother worked for a communist newspaper? Why does Obama associate with William Ayers who calls for the killing of 25 million Americans to implement communism? Why does Jay CArney, Obamas propaganda spokesman have Russian propaganda photos hanging on the walls at his home? I can type pages on these communists/Marxists. I have been to Russian, Red China, Yugoslovia (which no longer exists) and Romania back in the 80’s so I know EXACTLY what communism is comrade. Your arrogance is only exceeded by your ignorance.

  • MissTee

    Teachers are leaving too. Anyone who can afford to quit, is. Anyone who can retire, is. I guess they think anyone can do these jobs.

  • SusieQue

    It is so very sad that the city council members are so short sited. They spend money on improving the city’s “tourism,” the river front, even projects that could wait. Perhaps they should step down and give others a chance to give Memphis a fighting chance. Couldn’t hurt! Certianly it will help. Are they trying to attract new residents … New firemen, policemen, and businesses. Don’t think so. So very thankful for those who serve and pray SOMEONE will come to their senses.

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